On The Battlefield No One Wins (Godfather Records G.R.523/524)
Gaumont Hall, Ipswich, England – May 8, 1983
Disc 1 (51:29): Intro, Where Eagles Dare, Wrathchild, The Trooper, Revelations, Flight Of Icarus, Die With Your Boots On, 22 Acacia Avenue, The Number Of The Beast, Still Life
Disc 2 (63:20): To Tame A Land, Guitar Solo, Drum Solo, Phantom Of The Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden, Run To The Hills, Sanctuary, Drifter, Prowler
What could be better on the eve of Iron Maiden releasing their 15th studio recording, The Final Frontier, than a new release by Godfathers of a classic Maiden show. The gig in Ipswich has been circulating for years among trading circles, I obtained my first copy on a cheap cassette from a record show in the late 80’s and proceeded the wear it out. Prior releases are Maiden Ipswich Bondage 242//243 and Eagles Nest Shades 016.
This release looks to be from the master which was taped by Smiler using a Aiwa walkman recorder and is of excellent quality, probably in the top three recordings from the tour. The sound is clear emphasizing on the top end and is well balanced with very minimal crowd noise. The performance is typical for 1983, The band is firing on all cylinders in support of the (not yet released) Piece Of Mind ,the record was released on May 16, 1983.
After the Intro the band launches into the opening track of the album and concert, Where Eagles Dare, inspired by the 1969 Richard Burton / Clint Eastwood movie of the same in which the allied forces must seize control of a Nazi mountain top fortress, the music twists and turns with many time changes and is an excellent choice for a starter. No time is wasted as the band plows into Wrathchild short and intense the song is honed by years of playing and flows effortlessly.
The nice thing about this recording is Steve Harris’ bass is very clear and we can enjoy his playing. After a quick good evening Bruce introduces a new The Trooper. The crowd is pretty silent as the band goes into the second of seven tracks from the new record that were played showing the belief in the new music. “We got a new album coming out very shortly” starts Bruce’s intro to Revelations as a short break is taken to adjust the equipment. I love the version from 1983, slower and plodding like the original as opposed to the versions recorded the next year that was released on Live After Death.
The first single from the record is next, Flight of Icarus short and quick but gets a nice ovation and the band almost immediately goes into Die with Your Boots On, with its lyrics that seem to bring Nostradamus to mind is a personal favorite. Bruce gives the history on the next tune, about a prostitute called Charlotte who lives on Acacia Avenue and the first of four tracks from the Number Of The Beast is played. A classic all around live the song shines with a great vocal by Bruce. The Number Of The Beast is next and very well received.
The Dave Murray written Still Life is next, with its surreal lyrics and Hendrix inspired playing is excellent, at times mellow and at times heavy. Drain your Strength away indeed. The second disc starts with the EPIC Too Tame A Land, inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune Bruce does a good job explaining all about authors who don’t Like denim and leather. After a similar opening to Still Life the band launches into a heavy majestic riff that dominates the song. At seven minutes in length it is the definite predecessor to later Maiden Epics like Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.
Dave Murray’s solo is up next, heavily inspired by Hendrix with is air plane sounds that go into a short guitar drum jam before a blistering flash of notes is unleashed that lead into newcomer Nicko McBrain’s drum solo. As a 15 year old in Michigan I was lucky to see this tour and remember Dave’s solo, playing with his teeth and behind his head I was instantly grabbed and he rose to the top of my favorite guitar players. After a short drum solo the band goes into the trilogy of terror: Phantom Of The Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name, and Iron Maiden that concludes the end of the main set. The first two encores are common fair but the last two are very enjoyable, The classic Drifter gets a loud cheer from the crowd and gets the clapping going.
The final track is the classic Prowler, pretty much retired for many years after this tour is interesting to hear with Bruce’s vocals. I have to admit I prefer the Di’Anno versions but this still satisfies and is played with passion. A great show through and through and a welcome addition to the collection this is an excellent title to obtain to hear the band before the massive success of 84/85 as they play with a determination and belief in the material that is now considered classic line up of the band that would produce their largest selling records.
The packaging is great, a WWI style Trooper Eddie is on the cover with the Eddie ripping open the globe to reveal a brain is on the back. I guess the only bitch would be is on the inside there is a picture of the band from the year before with Clive Burr. A nice upgrade to the Bondage title, cannot speak for the Shades title and this is Highly recommended due to great performance and excellent sound.UP THE IRONS!